May 9, 2022

The New Talent Code Podcast: Alexandra Levit on the 5 Pillars of Career Durability

The New Talent Code with Eightfold’s Ligia Zamora & Jason Cerrato is a podcast with practical insights for empowering change agents in HR. We’re bringing you the best thought leaders and practitioners to share stories about how they are designing the workforce of the future, transforming processes, rethinking old constructs, and leveraging cutting-edge technology to solve today’s pressing talent issues. It’s what we call the new talent code.

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Alexandra Levit is the founder and CEO of Inspiration at Work, a consulting business preparing organizations and their employees to be competitive and marketable in the future business world. She is also the author of several books on careers, the future of work, and human-machine collaboration, and regularly contributes her ideas to publications including The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Forbes.

What’s also fascinating about Levit is how her own non-linear career path has informed her view on career durability and transferable skills, which are discussed in-depth in the episode. She explains, “all of these pivots [from PR executive to workplace consultant to author on the future of work] make sense if you look at them closely given the skills that I acquired over time.”

As part of each episode of The New Talent Code, Ligia and Jason are uncovering new takes on talent, new approaches to programs, and new ideas and insights to face the fast-approaching future. Here are the highlights from the conversation with Alexandra Levit:

Career durability is based on a framework of five pillars or types of skills

Career durability enables individuals to be gainfully employed over a long period of time, regardless of disruptions, if they have a certain set of skills. This model on career durability, developed by Levit and DeVry University, helps to address which skills are really essential for people to learn because, in reality, you can’t train everyone in everything.

Those skills range from soft skills, hard skills, applied technology skills, institutional knowledge, as well as learning agility. Together, the extent to which an individual possesses these combined skill sets dictates the durability of their career.

Assess for learning agility in the interview process

Rather than “insist that a candidate must have the exact combination of skills and experiences that are ideal for a role, you can really just look for a couple, and one of those is learning agility,” says Levit. In the interview process, ask a candidate to relate their prior experience, knowledge, or skill to a related area, so hiring managers can see the adjacency and potential for growth.

How upskilling programs can benefit from incorporating pillars of career durability

When implementing a successful upskilling program, Levit suggests employers consider three key areas of focus. First, organizations must connect their learning programs to the bigger picture strategic workforce plans, rather than launching ad-hoc learning portals that may not be tied to larger strategic goals. 

Then, the combination of a learning portal with a skills-based internal talent marketplace connects learning opportunities to career growth and visibility into career options within the organizations. Levit stresses the importance of not only listing jobs and the specific experience needed to excel in that job but also the skills that are associated with that job.

Finally, in order to maximize the value of upskilling programs, organizations must normalize internal mobility and the notion that a manager will support their team member requesting to move into a completely different function and taking training to make it happen. During the height of the pandemic, Levit shares, some organizations were forced to move employees from one business unit to another out of necessity, but many organizations still have a long way to go.

Listen to The New Talent Code

You can listen to this episode of The New Talent Code on your favorite podcast platform: Apple, Spotify, Google, and Stitcher. Be sure to subscribe, share your feedback, and help us contribute to the New Talent Code. We’ll catch you on the next episode.

Photo by Chris Lynch on Unsplash